Meet the “Gigfluencer,” a new generation of influencer for the work-from-anywhere era

The global pandemic hasn’t just changed the way we shop, study and spend our free time. For many social-savvy content creators, it’s changed the way we “influence” as well. As businesses and organizations rapidly digitize toward a new “work from anywhere” world, a generation of first-time influencers who don’t fit the mold of typical social media stars are emerging online.

Meet the the “Gigfluencer”

ShopStyle Collective — an influencer marketing network that powers over 30,000 influencers who monetize their content across blogs and social channels, and deliver upon brands’ marketing objectives — recently released an analysis of their December 2020 survey of 350 influencers who began monetizing content before and after the pandemic. The analysis points out trends surrounding influencer interest segments, long-term ambitions, motivators, top challenges and performance metrics — and notably, it identifies a new category of job-juggling social influencers, known as “Gigfluencers.”

According to ShopStyle, a Gigfluencer is a U.S.-based influencer — often focused on the retail category (apparel, footwear, beauty and sportswear) — who began monetizing their content for the first time (or re-attempted to monetize their content) around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. True to their name, Gigfluencers are more likely to be monetizing their content as a side gig or “side hustle” during the pandemic, viewing their content creation work as a source of supplemental, non-primary income.

Gigfluencing at a glance

According to survey data, Gigfluencers skewed towards having more diverse backgrounds, with more Gigfluencers (43%) identifying as Black or Hispanic than influencers who monetized pre-pandemic (31%).

More men also showed interest in the matter of generating supplemental income as an influencer during this time period, compared to traditional influencers. In fact, during the first few months of the pandemic, there were more men (56%) than women monetizing their social media and online content for the first time.

True to their name, Gigfluencers are more likely to be monetizing their content as a side gig or “side hustle” during the pandemic, viewing their content creation work as a source of supplemental, non-primary income.

Compared to “traditional” pre-pandemic influencers, Gigfluencers were almost twice as likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (50% to 27%) and more than half (53%) indicated that they had other employment, compared to only 25% of pre-pandemic influencers.

Additionally, the survey found that higher income people ($145K+) were more likely to have started trying to monetize their personal content for the first time after the pandemic, with 65% of first-time influencers slotting into the high-income category compared to only 23% of long-time influencers.

Gigfluencers: A generation of first-time influencers who emerged during the pandemic.
Gigfluencers: A generation of first-time influencers who emerged during the pandemic.

Long-term ambitions and primary motivators

Not only is the demographic makeup of Gigfluencers different from the pre-pandemic prototype, but their primary motivators differ as well. Compared to traditional influencers, Gigfluencers expressed greater long-term ambitions for their personal online brands and displayed a stronger desire for fame and recognition.

More than 30% of Gigfluencers highlighted “side income,” “increased social media usage” and “filling extra time” as top motivators for starting to promote and monetize their content. 23% displayed a stronger desire for fame as their most beneficial non-monetary benefit.

40% of Gigfluencers rated their ambitions in building a legitimate presence as an influencer as high, in contrast to only 29% influencers established prior to the pandemic. Meanwhile, a third of Gigfluencers surveyed indicated that they expect to increase their yearly income from influencer work by 100% or more, compared to only 19% of influencers established prior to the pandemic.

With many Gigfluencers expressing long-term ambitions for making money through their content — even after the pandemic recedes and society transitions to a new normal — partnerships with the right platforms and brands could prove crucial to their future success.

Enter ShopStyle Collective: A Rakuten Group company that empowers influencers to grow from nano to macro, with programs designed to support various aspects of their business.

How ShopStyle’s new Pay Per Click service empowers influencers

To help this ambitious new wave of content creators build momentum, ShopStyle Collective has launched a new Pay Per Click (PPC) feature.

With PPC, ShopStyle Collective’s network of influencers, including Gigfluencers, are rewarded for clicks on their affiliate links. PPC allows influencers to generate revenue out of the gate while building their following and serves as a way for influencers to grow legitimately.

ShopStyle Collective is going the extra mile to make this a safer bet for brand partners, as brands will still only pay for performance and conversion. This aids in the growth of strong partnerships being formed with Gigfluencers and helps pave the way for them to heighten their digital presence.

ShopStyle Collective and the PPC service now being offered can unlock new opportunities for individuals to establish their brand online, opening the influencer world to more storytellers from all walks of life – even amid these unprecedented times.

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